By Cynthia Laird
Richard A. Chicotel, the chief financial officer of Shorenstein Properties, one of the country’s oldest real estate organizations, died unexpectedly at his San Francisco home January 10. He was 52.
A cause of death was not released.
Known to many as Rich, Mr. Chicotel, who was openly gay, also was active in various LGBT causes and regularly opened his home for fundraisers.
Friends said that Mr. Chicotel tended to keep his business and private lives separate, and few of his friends realized that he was the CFO and thus third-in-rank at Shorenstein Properties. The firm is active in major American cities in the ownership and operation of high-quality office properties. (Shorenstein’s local properties today include the Russ Building at 235 Montgomery Street and 50 California Street.) As CFO he was in charge of Shorenstein’s financing activities, its insurance, and its reporting to investors; Mr. Chicotel rose to be CFO after working at Shorenstein since 1988. In 2007, he was named by the San Francisco Business Times as the San Francisco Bay Area CFO of the Year for Privately-owned Companies.
In his private life, Mr. Chicotel was known as an enthusiastic and dynamic person, and as a supporter of many LGBT organizations such as Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Horizons Foundation.
He was also known as the proud owner of his unusual and beautiful home at the corner of Church and Cumberland streets, which he generously loaned out often for favorite charities to stage fundraising events.
Mr. Chicotel was a member of the Neighborhood Parks Council (recently renamed San Francisco Parks Alliance), and a major supporter of plans (now under way) to renovate and improve Dolores Park, across the street from his home. One of the many charities that benefited from his help was his alma mater Harvard College (where he earned his B.A. in 1981). Mr. Chicotel co-chaired the local drive to raise money for a visiting professorship in LGBT studies at Harvard – an effort that had a well-remembered gathering in his back yard and succeeded in raising the money needed for the Matthiessen professorship, his friends said. (See: http://hglc.org/matthiessen.html.)
Mr. Chicotel was born August 20, 1959 and was raised in Huron, Ohio, a city of less than 8,000 people on the shore of Lake Erie near Sandusky. He graduated from Huron High School. After college, Mr. Chicotel obtained an MBA at Stanford Business School.
A celebration honoring Mr. Chicotel will be held on Wednesday, February 15 from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Buena Vista area. Please send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and the organizers will reply with directions to the meeting place. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the refreshments at the celebration, please indicate that in your email. A memorial fund in Mr. Chicotel’s name has been established at Horizons Foundation, 550 Montgomery Street, Suite 700, San Francisco 94111. For information email mailto:email@example.com.